Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says he's not running for re-election in 2016
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. AP photo
By Carrie Dann and Kelly O'Donnell, NBC news
(NBC News) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid won't run for re-election in 2016, ending a lengthy congressional career that culminated in ten years of leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate.
Reid announced the decision in a Youtube video, saying "We've got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that I'm not going to run for re-election."
"We have to make sure that Democrats take control of the Senate again," he said. "And I feel that it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources on me when I can be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that's what I intend to do."
Reid, who was injured in a New Years Day exercising accident, said the decision had "nothing to do" with his health or his ability to be reelected in his home state of Nevada.
But he said that the eye injury did give him and his wife "time to ponder and to think" about the future.
A source close to Reid said that the Democrat and his wife had discussed his retirement over the Christmas holiday last year -- before his accident.
"It's been hard but there is no question it is the right decision for him as a human being," the person said.
First elected to the House in 1982 and to the Senate in 1986, Reid became Senate Democrats' top leader in 2005. He became known for his soft-spoken but tough tactical style and his fierce opposition to Republican attempts to dismantle President Barack Obama's policies.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who along with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is considered a top prospect to replace Reid, said in a statement that Reid is "one of the best human beings I have ever met."
"His character and fundamental decency are at the core of why he's been such a successful and beloved leader," Schumer said. "He's so respected by our caucus for his strength, his legislative acumen, his honesty and his determination. He has left a major mark on this body, this country, and on so many who have met him, gotten to know him, and love him."